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October 4, 1952


JAMA. 1952;150(5):492. doi:10.1001/jama.1952.03680050058018

Elsewhere in this issue (page 510) is a summary of Bulletin 92, "Mortality Trends in the United States, 1900-1949," recently published by the Bureau of Medical Economic Research of the American Medical Association.1 Although the emphasis of the bulletin is on causes of death, the numerous charts and tables combined with the penetrating analysis of mortality trends provide physicians and other students of vital statistics with a clear-cut analysis of the spectacular reductions in mortality during the past half century. The decline in the general mortality rate from 17.2 (deaths per thousand) in 1900 to only 9.6 in 1950 is only the starting point for their analysis. A small portion of the 20 year increase in life expectancy at birth resulted from mortality gains at the higher ages; for example, the 22% drop in mortality at ages 65 to 74 accounted for 2% of the increase. The restricted meaning

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